Several years before my Mother passed away, she added this lovely Lenten rose (also known Helleborus orientalis) to a shady area of her garden. Each year I look forward to its blooming season, and last week I was thrilled to see how beautiful it was even in the frigid 30 – 40 degree cold snap that occurred in Northeast Mississippi. The blooming season of the Lenten rose incidentally coincides with the beginning of Lent. In the south, sometimes the blooms even occur in January. Hellebores are considered perennials while the leaves are considered an evergreen in warmer climates. With blooms that last for 8-10 weeks, these shade loving plants are a perfect addition to a shade garden or naturalized area. Their leathery, dark-green foliage make them an excellent ground cover as well. They are considered drought, disease, and deer resistant! While formerly only available in white or lavender tones, you can now purchase these “Heavenly Hellebores” in colors from crimson to pink, burgundy, yellow, green and white – thanks to plant hybridizers. I planted one late last spring, but it is not quite as showy as this one!
Hellebores are available in so many different varieties, and there is even one recent hybrid that has variegated leaves called “HGC Snow Fever”. The image below is courtesy of Fraser’s Thimble Farms.
The three main requirements for growing Hellebores are partial shade, well-drained soil, and a bed deep enough to accommodate their extensive root system. Here is a great link for more information about growing them: http://www.skagitgardens.com/_ccLib/image/plants/PDF-152.pdf
Lenten roses can even be cut and put in arrangements. I cut a few blooms along with a bountiful supply of blooming variegated vinca that I also found in my parent’s yard and created a tablescape for our breakfast room table. It survived the six-hour trip, and still looks fresh some four days later. You may need to change the water every couple of days as well as trim the stems. I placed the Lenten roses in a standing iron container with three glass holders. They make a simple, but elegant, presentation just as they are pictured below.
Variegated vincaworks nicely in flower arranging. Notice the vivid purple blooms.
I cut two blocks of soaked floral oasis to fit a decorative metal tray.
Arrange the cut oasis on the tray, and place pieces of fresh moss on the top. Mist the surface well with water. Start adding cut stems of the vinca into the oasis.
Continue to add the vinca on the tops and coming out from the sides of the oasis. More is better!!
Place stems of hydrangea or other cut flowers into 4 small vases. These were actually cut from potted hydrangeas that were purchased two weeks ago. The plant will soon be replanted in my yard.
Place the iron container in the center of the tray. Then place the vases around the tray as desired. I also added a cross to the tablescape.
This spring inspired tablescape is fun, easy, and not too time consuming to create. Use your imagination and change out the fresh flowers as needed with blooms from your yard or florist. Mist the moss at least every other day, and you should be able to enjoy it indoors for several weeks. Instead of vinca, Pittosporum, Kimberly Queen fern or other greenery could be substituted. And, don’t forget to check out the different varieties of hellebores at your favorite nursery…